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2020 in Review: Seeing is Believing

Sally Crook on the end of Seeing is Believing and the highlights of 2020.
Published: 27.11.2020
Sally Crook Seeing is Believing Programme Manager


This will be the last report from Seeing is Believing, as the programme will (sadly) close at the end of December 2020.  So, ‘the end of an era’ here at IAPB and also for the many implementing SiB partners around the world.  But there is still much to be celebrated, and much to share!

Here at IAPB we are immensely grateful for the US$104 million that was raised by Standard Chartered Bank’s employees over 15 years, and how these funds have been utilised by the implementing partners to deliver quality eye care activities over 17 years (2003-2020). This has been a true partnership across the years.  See: ‘A Visionary Partnership: 15 years of Seeing is Believing.

COVID-19 Impact

In 2019 we reported that 24 of 60 Phase V projects had already closed. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic our neat close-out plans across the remaining 36 projects was thrown into total disarray. Some projects went into ‘suspended animation’ for several months; whilst others diverted funds for PPE purchase and training on new protocols before eye care services could safely resume.  So Q2 2020 was a period of long delays and disruption to clinical delivery and monitoring of services.  But in the 2nd half of 2020 the revised plans and budgets could be actioned to enable all projects to close by the end of 2020.  IAPB is grateful to the huge efforts from all the teams in-country and at Head Offices who have worked tirelessly to ensure projects closed by end of 2020.

Just as SiB funded many RAABs and other baseline data collection at the start of projects to assist planning; the research embedded within and evaluations at the end of projects can also provide relevant information for other providers and planners. These final evaluations and also other research results showcase some very interesting points around achievements and important lessons learnt both directly and indirectly over the life of the project. We do hope that you will continue in the future to check in on the SiB pages of the IAPB website. As such ‘grey literature’ can prevent ‘reinventing wheels’ across the globe, and positively help managers to plan more smoothly and learn from other people and projects – there is much here that is useful and can be reflected upon.

As in previous years, SiB has been active in amplifying learning from SiB projects across the wider SiB community and beyond.

The SiB Newsletters were sent out bi-monthly and each topic focused on a diverse set of challenges and achievements across the SiB projects.  In 2020 the themes were: Development and integration of eye health indicators into national HMIS systems; Partnerships; Gender issues in eye care delivery; Behaviour Change Communication. A final newsletter will go out in December.  The articles submitted from the projects span a wide variety of providers and provide fascinating insights into the work of SiB partners to create real change and momentum for future eye care service delivery and quality.

Two SiB webinars were held in 2020. Again, each webinar has 2 editions – one with an Asian and the other with an African focus.  The themes for the webinars were:  1. Child and School eye health (Link for Africa and SEA webinar).  2. How SiB has stepped up eye care services across the globe (Link for Africa and SEA webinar).

To close out the Seeing is Believing programme, a one-day virtual learning Event is to be held in December 2020.  A huge selection of staff from across the projects – clinical and managerial – are invited along with staff from Standard Chartered and IAPB.  This event will enable sharing and cross-fertilisation of learning and ideas from the wide variety of SiB projects.

To fully wrap-up and close out Seeing is Believing, the small remaining SiB funds have in 2020 been disbursed to partners as a small one-off grants and all bank accounts have been closed. No funds remain, so please do not contact IAPB seeking additional SiB funding.

We are immensely proud of what SiB has achieved and hope that the learning and progress will be carried into future eye care planning, and delivery of eye care services.

Disclaimer: The views, ideas, technologies or policy positions in these blog posts belong to the authors and do not necessarily describe IAPB’s position or views on these matters.